We live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. That was before the Secret Service started having their way in Washington, DC. When I used to commute downtown regularly, I had several contracts where the best way to and from the place where I was working was right by the White House. Not the Pennsylvania Avenue side, the other side on E Street.
What was unpredictable was when the President left to fly somewhere on Air Force One, or went to Camp David, he took a helicopter known as Marine One. The Secret Service considered it a matter of National Security to stop traffic on E Street in both directions until Marine One took off. You could easily wait 15-20 minutes, longer if someone needed to take a leak (the non-urological term). I still don't understand why they thought I could get off a better shot from a moving car than sitting under the helicopter waiting, but then I don't understand the Secret Service.
Then it happened. An embassy was bombed by a truck ramming it's way by the Marine guard station. Many concrete pylons have been poured and both Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street on either side of the White House were 'temporarily' closed to traffic. That was over a decade ago, and neither street has ever been re-opened.
Which brings us to modern day DC and the up-coming Inauguration. The Secret Service has really outdone itself this time. All roads into DC from the Beltway in are closed off to traffic. Below is the actual Virginia Department of Transportation Order:
2009 Presidential Inaugural Law Enforcement and
Public Safety Public Affairs Subcommittee Announces
Joint Transportation Plan
Virginia Vehicular Restrictions
All vehicular road restrictions will be coordinated between the Virginia
State Police, the
Virginia Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions. On January
personal vehicles will not be permitted into Washington, D.C., from
I-395 north will be closed to general traffic. As a result, northbound
will be diverted onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer
the Springfield interchange.
Eastbound I-66 lanes east of the Capital Beltway/I-495 will be closed to
traffic. Eastbound traffic on I-66 will also be diverted onto I-495
Only authorized vehicles – emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire
will be permitted on I-395 North and I-66 East within the Beltway.
Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic only. No motor
be permitted to cross the bridges.
Key Bridge is restricted to mass transit only
- 6 -
Chain Bridge is restricted to authorized vehicles and mass transit only,
The Woodrow Wilson and the American Legion bridges will have no traffic
North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City)
Reagan National Airport will be closed.
Not to mock anyone here, but why not just not let anyone attend the Innaugural?
In the event of an emergency (unspecified) the evacuation plan is that everyone will walk across the bridges to Virginia. And what about people who are emergency workers? How are they getting to work? G-d forbid someone goes into labor and needs to go to the hospital, or worse. We call these tiny implementation details.
I could go on, but then I'd have to tell you that the DC politicians want Obama to make his first Executive Order putting the DC license plate withe the slogan 'No Taxation Without Representation' back on the Presidential limosine. Bill Clinton had it on for his last month in office, and W had it removed. I'm kind of hoping for removing the restrictions on stem cell research that were imposed, not that I have an opinion, naturally. Whatever it is, let it be worthy.
You can learn more about DC by reading M@'s post today at why.i.hate.dc or learn to be a better person with Mel or do both!!! Have a great day, and if things are going bad, if you screw up, at least you don't work for the Secret Service.